Question for the autocross KING (Ed Runnion) - Chevy Impala SS Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-26-2002, 05:57 PM
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hey KING, oops, I mean Ed,

I have an interesting question for you.

I have been very happy with the front HAL shocks (stock rear). I have NO sway bars, front or rear, and with HALs set on #8 (#6 is like stock), and 275/40-17s on the front, my car corners as well as it did on stock tires and suspension.

The only time I notice a difference is turning on a road that has regular bumps, say 2 or 3 inches apart, like a washboard.

Now, WITHOUT putting the sway bars back on, do you have any mods I could do to increase handling???? I know it's a tough one, but if anyone knows the answer, you would [img]smile.gif[/img]
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-26-2002, 07:34 PM
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Don't know about "King", I'm a mere pauper compared to the suspension knowledge of some folks on this forum [img]smile.gif[/img]

That said : some ideas to try, with that swaybar (or lack thereof) constraint, would be

1. Shock settings. This will require HALs on the rear as well. But, I believe that with the right settings (stiffer in back, and a little softer in front) you'll be able to dial out some of the inherent understeer in the car.

2. Alignment : a little more static negative camber in front can really help in the "bite" that the outside front tire gets when going into a corner. And if done right, it shouldn't hurt the car much (if any) on the straight line stuff. Downside is that it'll wear out the insides of the front tires sooner.

3. Tires : a set of "sticky" DOT tires (i.e. Kumho Victoracers, Kumho Ecsta V700s, the new Nitto R tire) work great......not cheap and won't last long, but can stick like you wouldn't believe [img]smile.gif[/img]. All are available in 275/40R17, and at least the Victoracers work pretty well in the rain UNLESS you have DEEP standing water. My current AutoX tires are Victoracers in 275/40R17 on stock rims, and until the tread gets fairly worn they are completely safe for street driving. I would suspect that with street driving, you might get 8-10K out of a set, and they cost approx $160/tire new. For AutoX, I'll run them to the point that the tread is not only GONE, but the cords are showing (corded the last set at Impalafest last year when Tully and I co-drove his car in the AutoX there)

4. Global West Del-a-lum bushings up front in the lower and upper A arms. I know I keep pushing those bushings [img]smile.gif[/img], but they really DO work that well. It's pretty dramatic the improvement in transient response to steering inputs with them. I also suspect they are gonna help in drag racing as well, because you aren't fighting the bushing when you try and get the weight transfer on launch (translation : weight will transfer quicker). When installing these bushings, you can COMPLETELY torque them at any suspension setting (i.e. arm down, spring on the garage floor) and STILL move the arms freely.....try that with stock or poly bushings [img]smile.gif[/img].

That would be some good starting points.....

BTW, whatever happened to that "active" suspension idea you were throwing around last fall? Now THAT one sounds really interesting!
post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-26-2002, 08:09 PM
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Thanks a LOT, Ed. This is definitely a good starting point. I think I'll start implementing this a little at a time. I'll probably start with the bushings. Do you have a link?

As far as the active suspension, my computer buddy that was to help me is presently seeking new employment, so this is on hold for while (but not forgotten!!)

I also had a thought about adding a tube diagonally, say from the left of the axle to the right top of some body structure, and with a shock absorber on it. Do you think this could help reduce body sway?

Do you have any opinions on solid body bushings?

By the way, my yearly mileage is around 5000, and that's how long my rear tires last (DRs), so getting 10,000 miles out of the fronts is not bad.
post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-26-2002, 08:30 PM
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George, I beleive the S10 SS and some of the other S-series trucks have a 5th shock attached between the axle and the frame. I have no idea how this is positioned though. Is this anything like what you were thinking?

If you are talking about a solid bar, then I would think it would make the suspension bind up a lot. That is generally called a Panhard rod or something like that. It is often used with a torque arm, like on the F-bodies. However out suspension uses upper and lower control arms so this wouldn't work right.
post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-26-2002, 10:02 PM
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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by SSMOKEM:
Do you have any opinions on solid body bushings?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I do!

I'm running around with solid aluminum lower body bushings, and I can feel the difference from stock. I feel every little bump on the road(totally sucks on rough residencial area roads). They seem to make noise once in a while... I have yet to confirm that it is them making the noise, but I have that feeling. I still have the stock Roadmaster upper bushings... I might replace them later on with polygraphite bushings from Energy Suspension.

Navy Lifer has a lot to say about this subject... the aluminum body bushings were his idea to begin with
post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-26-2002, 10:24 PM
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I would agree with Ed on the addition of GW bushings in your front end! They will really keep the geometry constant as the suspension works.

I noticed from your web page that your SS is very typical in total race ready weight at 4400 lbs but your front/rear ratio is 48.6 front and 51.4 aft. I have gathered that you have removed the sway bars & trunk mounted the battery, you are still running iron heads! What other big items have you relocated or deleted?
I would love to get mine closer to 50/50.
mine has a "more typicl 55% front weight.

The solid body bushings would likely help but they tend to be rather stiff and noisy.
I had aluminum ones on an old Cmaro and it was pretty harsh on the street.
post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-27-2002, 07:15 AM
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Thanks guys for the information.

hey Todd,

My weight distribution has changed for the worse, just haven't updated my website yet

Here is an excel spreadsheet:
post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-27-2002, 11:15 AM
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For the "bare" bushings, call Global West at 1-877-470-2975 and ask to talk to Doug.

Bushing install is pretty straight-forward into the arms, but will require a bushing press. And, welding some reinfocement on the backside of the lower arms (near the bushing area) is a good idea to keep the arm from collapsing when you press in the new bushings.

Alternately, talk to Bill Harper (Navy Lifer) and he can set you up with control arms that already have the bushings and new Moog Balljoints installed in them (this is especially useful if you don't have access to a cheap or free press for balljoint and bushing removal/install). That way, you can do it as a simple swap and have less downtime on the car.
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